Periodisation has three subphases: macrocycle, mesocycle and microcycle. These subphases are used in order to break the training year up into manageable chunks that join together to achieve the long term goals.
The macrocycle subphase is the larger training cycle and normally encompasses the whole year. However, the macrocycle can be both larger or smaller than this, depending on the sport. For example, an athlete training to win the olympics will have a four (4) year macrocycle in order to qualify for and then peak during the olympics. Whereas, a tennis football player will focus on a single year macrophase. Athletes will often set macrocycle goals that they wish to achieve. These are used to guide training and planning in the smaller subphases of periodisation.
The mesocycle subphase is a smaller chunk of time and can consist of a few weeks or a few months. Often mesocycles match up with the three (3) phases of competition (pre, in and off season). For example, one mesocycle may be 4 weeks of general pre-season training. Mesocycles join together to create the macrocycle. The macrocycle goals are broken up into smaller goals that are to be achieved during each mesocycle.
The microcycle subphase is smaller still, often a single week of a training program. The microcycle is often used to focus on a singular aspect that adds together with other macrocycles in order to achieve mesocycle goals which accumulate to achieve the macrocycle goals. Microcycle’s are particularly important for weekly competitions as the athlete or team prepare for their next match. It is the microcycle subphase that works as the building blocks to create the year long training program using periodisation.